Folkestone Magistrates’ Court heard that on October 15 2018, G&R Groundworks (South East) Ltd operatives were using an electric ground breaker to dig fence post holes for a car park perimeter fence at a site in Ramsgate, Kent.
While operating the electric breaker, one of the operatives struck an 11kv electricity cable causing a large flash and engulfing him in flames.
The victim sustained serious burns to his face, chest, abdomen, groin, both arms and both legs, amounting to approximately 50% total body surface area burns.
An HSE investigation found that G&R Groundworks (South East) Ltd failed to source and refer to the underground services plans prior to breaking the ground to determine the location of any cables within the planned working area.
They also failed to provide their operatives with cable identification equipment to further locate any cables within that area.
G&R Groundworks (South East) Ltd of Ramsgate, Kent, pleaded guilty to safety breaches and was fined £32,400 and ordered to pay costs of £2,657.18.
Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Ross Carter said “This incident could so easily have been avoided by simply carrying out correct control measures and safe working practices.
“If a suitable safe system of work was followed prior to the incident, the life changing injuries sustained by the operative would have been prevented.”